SOUTH HADLEY, MASS. – Five different Mount Holyoke College players registered goals to help the Lyons defeat Emerson College, 9-8 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference action on Wednesday. With the victory, MHC improves to 3-8 overall and 1-2 in the NEWMAC, while the visiting Lions slip to 0-9 overall and 0-3 in conference action.
After a back-and forth first half, Mount Holyoke escaped the first half with a 6-4 advantage, powered by a pair of goals from both senior captain Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass./Northampton) and classmate Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic), while Kouakou also added a pair of assist.
The Lyons carried its momentum into the second half as junior attacker Deyscha Smith (Boston, Mass./Academy of the Pacific Rim) drove down the middle for a tally, just two minutes into the half to increase the lead to 7-4. A few minutes later, Emerson's junior attacker Emily Quinn (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth High School) found herself open, firing a shot in from the front of the net, but MHC's first year attacker Julia Klein (West Hartford, Conn./Northwest Catholic) notched her first goal of the game push the lead to 8-5.
Just over a minute later, Kouakou received a feed from sophomore midfielder Julianna Rankin (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) in traffic and shook free to fire a shot for her third goal of the game. Down four with 14:22 to go in the game, Emerson began to mount its comeback. After a high pass from sophomore midfielder Camille Mimford (Yardley, PA), first year midfielder Kelli Mark (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) cut into the offensive zone and launched a low shot past Mount Holyoke's keeper to cut the deficit to 9-6.
After a caused turnover, Quinn carried the ball into the offensive zone and maneuvered her way in front of the net for a point-blank score to slim the lead to just two points (9-7) with 13:30 to go. The Lyons played solid defense, holding off the visiting Lions for over 11 minutes, but Quinn struck again as she wove through traffic to bring Emerson to within one score (9-8) with 1:58 remaining in the game. MHC held the Lions at bay, for the final seconds of the half to cement its NEWMAC victory.
Kouakou led the Lyons with three goals to go along with a game-high seven draw controls and a pair of assists. Braz had a productive game with two goals, six ground balls, and a game-leading four caused turnovers. Klein also recorded a pair of goals, whole Rankin had a tally with three ground balls and a draw control. Sophomore defender Kathryn Violette (Yokosuka City, Japan/Yokohama International) played stifling defense with four caused turnovers and five ground balls.
For Emerson, Quin registered a game-high four goals on four shots to go along with two caused turnovers. Mark also had a strong game with three goals and three draw controls, while senior goalkeeper Kristina Modica (East Moriches, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) had eight saves and four ground balls.
Mount Holyoke will hit the road on Saturday in a noon-time matchup against Wellesley College, while Emerson concludes a three-game road stretch against Smith College on Saturday at 1:00pm.